Archive for category Inspiration

Hagen Green’s Clean Machine

Alfine 11 drivetrain -- dig the snazzy red Gates belt!

Hagen's clean, clean build. Note how the cables are barely visible.

Our silver-plated, solid brass headbadge and TRO Orange paint.

We heard from a very happy Speedhound owner who sent us a link to his blogpost about his experience planning, building and riding his Only One. It’s definitely worth a read if you have any interest in putting together your own custom ride.  Hagen gives us an in-depth view of how he planned his bike and how pleased he is with the results. He had a few bugs to work through with his Alfine hub at first, but flushing and changing the lubricant and fine-tuning his Versa shifter set things right.  We love his impressions of the ride qualities of the Only One and how it compares with his other bikes.  Thanks, man!

The Soul of a Bicycle

I have a 1962 Raleigh Blue Streak in my stable. It’s a survivor, covered with over 50 years of patina, rust and grime.

The Raleigh's top tube. How many riders and how many miles created this patina?

Riding it takes me to a simpler place. For about 10 years, I had it set up as a fixed-gear, putting about 7,500 miles on it. I’ve got a TRO Orange Speedhound belt-drive for fixed-gear riding now, so I recently put the Blue Streak back to something like its original specification, as shown in a 1962 Raleigh catalog. I think of it as a sympathetic recreation, and even though I’ve used some new bits to keep it on the road, such as an alloy 27X1-1/4” rear rim, an alloy seatpost, and Kool Stop brake shoes, it’s still a Raleigh Blue Streak, from Nottingham, England. It says so right on the frame and it doesn’t matter what parts might adorn it.

The rear cog on my fixed-gear Speedhound ONLY ONE. It's a 50 X 20 with first generation Gates Carbon Drive componenets. That's a tensioner at the end of the dropout.

Messing around with the old Raleigh got me thinking about the essence of a bike’s identity. Yes, a bike is an assembly of parts, but it’s the frame that defines it. What would I get if I took the old parts from my Blue Streak and put them on a Speedhound frame? The result would be a Speedhound bike, not a Raleigh. That’s because the frame is the soul of a bicycle, its DNA, what it is. The parts an owner chooses for it will depend on his or her purpose – sport riding, commuting, gravel racing, or just getting around. It might have cantiliever brakes, dual pivot calipers or hydraulic discs. Single speed, internal gear hub, or 30-speed derailleur gearing. A belt or a chain, puffy tires or skinny racing slicks.  How about high rise handlebars and a banana seat? (I’ll have to try this sometime.) But no matter what, the bike you build on a Speedhound frame will always have that Speedhound soul. That’s the beauty in creating one for yourself. As we like to say, “Quavis velocitate” — go your own speed!

The Blue Streak's antediluvian Cyclo Benelux rear derailleur. The early 1960s were the end of the pull chain era. It shifts slicker than you think.

 

 

Adam Turman Speedhound Poster Available Now

Minneapolitans and Saint Paulites who ride bikes, hang out at coffee houses, frequent bars and restaurants, go to clubs or otherwise get out and about will instantly identify the artist who created our screen-printed poster:

Speedhound by Adam Turman

Yes, it’s illustrator and Speedhound rider Adam Turman!

Some of Adam’s favorite themes are bikes, cityscapes, pinups and beer, so we knew we had the right artist to draw an image for Speedhound.  (Adam likes dogs, also.)  Models for the poster were the fixed-gear, belt-drive Speedhound prototype #1 (bike), Cooper, the Italian Greyhound (dog), and mystery woman??? (rider).

Hear Adam describe his work and see how he draws, inks and prints his illustrations here.  Adam is definitely a Minnesota original!

If you’d like to buy a Speedhound poster by Adam Turman, go to the”Contact” link at the upper right of our homepage.  Tell us your name, mailing address and how many prints you’d like.  We’ll send you an e-mail with payment options, including credit card or personal check. The prints measure 18″ X 24″ and are handsigned and numbered by Adam.  Fifty of the original run of 60 are available.  Price:  $35, including shipping to the continental U.S.

 

Mark S’s Belt-Drive Speedhound

Hiawatha Cyclery, a Speedhound dealer in Minneapolis, recently delivered a new Only One to belt drive aficionado, Mark S.  Mark had already logged over 4,000 miles of trail riding on his first-gen Gates belt-drive “Big Brand” bike.  He told us he was sold on the Gates belt system, but was looking for a frame that made it easier to adjust belt tension.  He also wanted the benefits of the new CenterTrack belt and sprocket design.  Working with Jim Thill at Hiawatha, Mark created his own custom single-speed around the Speedhound Only One frameset.

An excellent close-up of our headbadge, from Speedhound rider Mark S. The badge is silver-plated stamped brass. Antiquing brings out the contrast.

Here’s how he equipped his new ride:

Frameset:  58 cm Ace Red Speedhound Only One with slider-style dropouts

Headset:  Chris King 1-1/8” threadless

Cranks:  Shimano Tiagra 175mm

Bottom bracket:  Chris King external cup

Front sprocket:  Gates CenterTrack 55 tooth

Rear sprocket:  Gates CenterTrack 20 tooth (nine-spline)

Belt:  Gates CenterTrack 122 tooth

Pedals:  VO Grand Cru Sabot

Brake calipers:  Tektro R539 dual-pivot front, Tektro R536 dual-pivot rear

Brake levers:  Paul Canti-Lever

Handlebars:  Dimension 30mm alloy riser

Stem:  Dimension threadless 90 mm

Grips:  PDW Whiskey Grips dark brown leather

Saddle:  Brooks B17 dark brown leather

Seat post:  VO Grand Cru 27.2 mm

Hubs:  White Industries M15 (titanium freehub body) with Delta AxleRodz skewers

Rims:  H+Son TB14 700C 32H polished silver

Tires:  Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HD Speed Guard 700 x 32

With belt drive and the highest-quality sealed bearings available, that’ll be one long-lasting, low-maintenance machine.  After getting his new bike, Mark sent us the kind of e-mail we love to find in our in box.  Mark wrote:  “The highlights for me are the masterfully designed frame, perfect for the Gates drivetrain, the Ace Red paint job, Jim’s superbly built wheels, the Brooks saddle and leather grips, and the Chris King headset and bottom bracket.  This puppy is A number one!  Man, what a set of wheels!  I’m SO pleased with my purchase!!”  Mark also told us that, at 22.6 pounds, his new steel-framed Speedhound weighs the same as the aluminum-framed, belt-drive, single-speed bike it replaced.  And that’s sporting a Brooks leather saddle and sturdy, puncture-resistant 700 X 32 tires.  Mark calculated that with the Minneapolis made Speedhound frameset, the premium U.S. components, and Hiawatha Cyclery’s labor, his bike is 68% American made by dollar value.  Thanks for the feedback Mark, enjoy your new ride, and go your own speed!

Mark S's Speedhound out for a recent trail ride. Hiawatha Cyclery trimmed the fork steering tube to get the bars just where Mark likes them.

 

Notes from NAHBS 2013

The 2013 North American Handmade Bicycle Show drew to a close on Sunday, March 24. At least some things in our world are getting better:  the quality and creativity of handmade bikes! Can it be topped in Charlotte next year? Just take a look at some of the incredible machines on display — here are hundreds of photos for your viewing pleasure: manypix (Speedhound and yours truly appear on page 8 of the photoset). Coverage of the show is appearing daily — here’s some we found this afternoon: mtbr . Denver is hometown to Gates, maker of CarbonDrive belt components, but even so, we were amazed at the number of bikes running belt drive. I’d guess at least three dozen. Speaking of which, here’s the official NAHBS website feature on Speedhound: NAHBS . Yup, there are a few typos, and no, we don’t provide a front hub with the disc option, but we like the attention!  Hope to see you next year!

Speedhound ONLY ONE "Gun Metal" at NAHBS. The headlamp is an antique Luxor from France, rewired to run from a Shimano Alfine generator hub.

Tags: , , ,

Bike Night 2012 – Minneapolis Institute of Art

The Minneapolis Institute of Art is hosting Bike Night again this Thursday, July 19, starting at 6:00 p.m, and we’ll be there!  A group ride departs for the MIA from Twin Six World HQ at 5:30 p.m.  Or just ride over to the MIA at 24th Street and Third Avenue South in Minneapolis for the cycling scene’s social event of the summer.  Bike Night includes:

  • The opening of the Bicycle Film Festival, with shows at 7:00 and 8:15 p.m.
  • Live music
  • Outdoor cocktail lounge
  • Exhibits by Speedhound, Peacock Groove and other notable home-grown bike frame builders
  • Drawings for bike and swag giveaways
  • Pedal-powered bike art activities presented by Speedhound retailer The Hub Bike Co-op
  • Local bike shop clinics and gear
  • Thousands of Twin Cities bike hipstas!

We’re planning to show some of the great Speedhounds we showed at NAHBS.  See you there!

Tags: , , , , ,

Just Ride: A Review of Grant Petersen’s New Book

There’s a high likelihood that you’ve heard of Grant Petersen and Rivendell Bicycle Works.  (Speedhound tends to attract riders who dig steel bikes, and nobody has done more than Grant Petersen to praise the many virtues of steel.)  If G.P. and Riv mean nothing to you, though, it’s your lucky day.  G.P.’s new book, Just Ride (subtitled “A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike”), might just change your life.  As the author says in the Introduction, “my main goal with this book is to point out what I see as bike racing’s bad influence on bicycles, equipment, and attitudes, and then undo it.”

I’d subscribed to G.P.’s Rivendell Reader for years, and whether I agreed or disagreed with his many opinions, the Reader was always entertaining and useful.  G.P. challenged conventional biking wisdom and rejected the racer as a role model.  He gave us permission to raise our handlebars, lower our tire pressure, and leave the Lycra at home.  In large doses, his writing could come off as judgmental and cranky, or sometimes painfully wordy and confessional.  It pulled you in anyway, with a vaguely cult-like vibe you wanted to be a part of, even if it just meant ordering a Rivendell handlebar bag.

The last print edition of the Reader was published in February 2009, and I hadn’t gotten around to reading the two later, on-line volumes until recently.  (Available to download free at www.rivbike.com/product-p/rr.htm.)  So when I started reading Just Ride, it was like a visit from an old friend.  All of the familiar themes were there, including G.P.’s pet equipment likes: steel frames, lugs, wheels with lots of spokes, puffy tires, flat pedals (not clipless), friction shifters, threaded forks, quill stems, fenders, saddle bags, kickstands, leather saddles, cotton bar tape, shellac, hemp twine, and wool.  Practical, durable stuff, not for racing.

So what’s new?  Part 4 of Just Ride is titled “Health and Fitness,” and G.P. says it’s his second-favorite chapter in the book.  It’s my favorite.  Here are some of the section headings:

  • Riding is lousy all-around exercise.
  • Riding burns calories and makes you eat more.
  • Carbohydrates make you fat.
  • Branch out and buff up.
  • Stretching is overrated.

Wow, G.P. has gone all low carb and paleo!  (He doesn’t use the term.)  It’s offered as his own advice, but it’s really a distillation of, among others, Gary Taubes (Why We Get Fat) www.garytaubes.com and Mark Sisson (The Primal Blueprint) www.marksdailyapple.com. These books, two favorites in my library, are offered for sale on the Rivendell site.  G.P. says “My education will be questioned.  Some will accuse me of making irresponsible, even dangerous claims, and will want to see the studies.  The studies are out there; look them up.  I’ve been careful.  I’ve read everything, seen through the BS, seen the results in others and in myself.  Do what I recommend here, and you will get healthier.”

Believe it.  I’ve followed my own primal lifestyle experiment for almost three years and it works.  You’ll disagree with much of G.P.’s advice when it comes to bikes and riding, but you owe it to yourself to read Just Ride, and when you’re done, Why We Get Fat (even if you’re not) and The Primal Blueprint.  This is life changing stuff.  Now go out and just ride!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Do You Like Messing Around with Bikes?

As a kid, I was always fascinated by how things worked.  A broken toaster was an invitation to explore:  I had to take it apart to figure out what made it pop.  Discarded TV sets, clocks, lawn mowers, electric mixers, and tape recorders were some of the subjects of my screwdriver autopsies.  With my knack for mechanical things, bikes were a breeze.  When I was 12, I assembled my new 3-speed right from the box.

Yes, I got my driver’s license when I was 16, and anything with an internal combustion engine had a certain allure.  But cars were too big, dirty and expensive to mess around with.  Now, a bike – I could store that in the kitchen or carry it into the basement.  I could clean the chain, disassemble and repack the bearings, or adjust the derailleurs just about anywhere.

My first real racing bike was a Gitane Tour de France, orange with chromed fork tips and stays and gaudy Mylar stickers.  That bike taught me what it means for a bike to be alive (especially compared to the Schwinn Varsity that I took on my first century ride).  Turns out those old European racing bikes from the 1970s were great all-around rides, which is partly why you see so many of them resurrected for duty around town today.

I was constantly experimenting with my gear, trading one bike for another, always searching for the “magic ride.”  I worked for awhile brazing frames at Trek, when all of their bikes were lugged steel, made in Wisconsin.  I made my way through school wrenching in bike shops, because I had a passion for bikes and a talent for fixing them.   I also loved to ride bikes, and working around them gave me the opportunity to try hundreds.  Later, when I could afford it, I began collecting lightweight racing bikes, many from the 1950s.

One thing I always wanted was a bike frame that could do just about anything on the road or a light trail.  A kind of universal bike.  About 10 years ago, I noticed that people started buying cyclo-cross bikes, but not for racing.  The extra clearance in the frames for muddy knobbies also made them suitable for fenders and puffy road tires.  Like the old racing bikes from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.  Although a C-X bike is a lot better than a contemporary road racing bike for the riding that 99% of us do 99% of the time, it still involves some compromises.  There must be a better way, I thought.   How might a bike frame be made to work for every rider in a variety of situations?  I decided to design a frame that could be a flexible platform for any type of drivetrain and a wide variety of riding styles.  A frame that would expand a rider’s choices now or in the future.  I thought, “What if we made it modular?”  I began experimenting and made a prototype of an interchangeable dropout system that would meet the particular demands of belt drive, but could also be used with derailleur gears.

All those years of experimenting inspired me to create Speedhound Bikes.  Our patent-pending Speedhound Dropout System is a unique departure from conventional thinking.  With this system, the ONLY ONE offers a degree of flexibility not found in any other bike frame.  Now, you no longer have to settle for one type of drivetrain or brake system.  You aren’t stuck with a track frame when you decide you want gears.  Want to go low maintenance, ditch the chain and go belt drive?  Be our guest.  You pick the drivetrain you want and build your Speedhound in any configuration you like.  Cantilever brakes or calipers?  We don’t make any decisions for you.  And if you want to repurpose your Speedhound to do something completely different, the choice is yours.  If you like tinkering with bikes, you get it.  “Go Your Own Speed” is our motto and the principle we live by.  The quest for the magic ride never ends.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

News Flash: Belts Are Now As Efficient As Chains!

The diamond-framed “safety” bicycle replaced the high-wheeled “ordinary” by the end of the 1800s.  Apart from a few shaft-driven bikes, chains have ruled since those early days.  Although belts have been used to transmit power since at least the 1870s, when flat leather belts linked steam engines to farm equipment and industrial machines, it’s taken over 100 years since then for belts to be successfully adapted to bikes.  The reason has to do with efficiency.

The human engine doesn’t develop much power, and when we jump on a bike, we want our pedaling effort to translate into maximum forward motion.  Until the development of modern cogged belts, nothing could compete with the transmission efficiency of roller chains.

Often called timing belts or synchronous belts, cogged belts are popular in applications that require precision, durability and efficiency.  Many cars use a timing belt to drive the camshafts that control the opening and closing of the engine’s valves.  In 1962, the German Glas 1004 became the first mass-produced vehicle to use a cogged timing belt in place of a chain.

CenterTrack on the OUR Blue Speedhound

CenterTrack on the OUR Blue Speedhound

Our two-wheeled friends in the motorcycle world are also fans of cogged belts.  In 1980, Harley-Davidson introduced a Gates Kevlar reinforced belt as a replacement for its chain drives.  That year, they debuted the FXB Sturgis model featuring the belt drive in honor of the iconic motorcycle rally.  Other motorcycles, including BMW and Victory, use final drive belts.  Snowmobiles are almost all driven by belt transmissions.

In about 1985, Bridgestone introduced a belt-drive folding bike for the Japanese market.  The STRiDA folding bike was designed around the same time and also uses a cogged belt drive.  But despite all this cogged belt history, high performance belt drive for bikes only became available in 1997, with the Gates Carbon Drive system.  http://www.carbondrivesystems.com

According the U.S. Department of Energy, cogged belts are about 98% efficient.  http://www1.eere.energy.gov/manufacturing/tech_deployment/pdfs/replace_vbelts_motor_systemts5.pdf This means that 2% of the input power is lost, which is about the same efficiency as a roller chain.   Kidd, Matt D.; N. E. Loch, R. L. Reuben (1998). “Bicycle Chain Efficiency”. The Engineering of Sport conference. Heriot Watt University.

Belt drives have been used for decades to drive vehicles much heavier and more powerful than Speedhounds.  Now that belt technology has finally caught up with bicycles, we think belts are a perfect choice for getting you up those hills and through the rain and snow you might encounter on your rides.

Tags: , , , ,

Mary Queen of Scots Had a Speedhound!

Speedhound fans know that our mascot is an Italian Greyhound (IG) named Cooper.  His ancestors have been a popular breed for millennia.  Evidence has been found of IGs at Pompeii! Mary Queen of Scots was a big fan of the little speedsters too.

Speedhound BadgeIGs are light, quick and nimble.  They’re a perfect mascot for Speedhound bikes.  In fact, Cooper, who weighs in at only 10.4 lbs (4.7 kg), is still over twice as heavy as an ONLY ONE frame!  That’s what we call light and nimble!

Our inspiration from IGs goes beyond our need for speed, though.  IGs are agile sporting dogs – our “running dog” graphic is inspired by an IG competing in a lure coursing event.  And since we insist on making our own forks that match the frame geometry, both parts of a Speedhound frameset have matching serial numbers starting with the letters “IG” for Italian Greyhound.  You can find the serial numbers stamped in the bottom bracket and on the fork steering tube.

Speedhound Serial Number

Tags: , , , , , ,